Saturday, October 11, 2014

Detective Comics

 

Given I have not been the biggest fan of the New 52 version of the DC universe I have to say this Scott Snyder Greg Capullo story is pretty damned solid and actually accessible even is you have not read much of the last twenty some odd issues. Though already in print for months at this point but its currently timely since the Gotham television show has just started and it covers some of the same time period of Jim Gordon's early career and his meeting with the young Bruce Wayne. The art by the veteran superhero noir artist Greg Capullo, who's work with both Spawn and Sam and Twich from back in the nineties was good has developed into a very tight defined and detailed realistic style. This story plunges the people of Gotham into a escape from New York short of closed off primative island setting kept in the dark and secluded by the machinations of the Riddler who's got a point to prove. Scott gets to develope the characters of Jim Gordon and Lucius Fox more then they have been in the past and they kind of shine through more then the titular character who's best story moments for me happen I the flashbacks. All in all I actually feel I can reccommend this for superhero fans who have been wanting to read Batman but don't want to feel like they are stuck in the crossover nightmare of multiple titles to read.

Zero Year jumps back and forth between several time periods including the events that lead up to the shooting of the Wayne's, Bruce's development after that shocking event, Batmans early relationship with the Gotham PD and Gordon and finally the Riddler's abduction of the city of Gotham to force evolution. The volume opens with a scene where Batman deftly evades the then mostly corrupt Gotham PD and has a truly contentious encounter with Gordon. Over the corse of the stories we get to see the development of their grudging mutual respect and Snyder takes opportunity to flesh out the early career of for the future comissioner and how he got wise of the corruption around him. He also writes about the pre- and post- murder Bruce and touches on his young adulthood a bit in enlightening ways. In the zero-year story involving the Riddler we get to see Lucius Fox in light of his career as an inventor and read a pretty disturbing serial killer tale that is worthy of the bizarre antagonists that Batman is known to face. Though these are in essence ret-con events they do fit into the story and build on the legend. In the full course of the story we get to see Batman come into being the hero he will someday become, one who is driven to win eventhough failure and loss may be on the road to winning. All the players big and small from the Bat-mythos get their moment to shine in Zero-Year and the story elevates the Riddler to more then just a bit part villain in the same way that Avengers Arena elevated Arcade from a joke to a threat.

Greg Capullo has come a long way since he was the replacement for Todd Mcfarlane on Spawn and the main artist for the titles spun out of that one of the first Image comics. His line work has become much cleaner and tighter and he has become very adapt at displaying emotion without ending up in the realm of caricature where some artists out of the 90s can tend to go. Probably some of the most startlingly good work in this book are the distance shots and cityscapes he draws; he effectively creates the moods and atmosphere of post apocalyptic setting among the skyscrapers and buildings of Gotham City. He and the colonists have created a very pretty book about some very ugly things that really left me wanting more. His Bruce Wayne looks much less weathered then he does in the modern storyline and give we are seeing hi at the outset of his career and as with the story its a worthy addition to the story.

So if your like me and have fond memories of reading Batman in the past but have not really been captured by some of the stories in the New 52 this may be one to check out because its not weighed down be missing chapters published in other volumes and you don't really even need to read Zero Year part one to really get stuck in. I don't know if I'll be back for the next volume but after checking this out I can reccomend it for multiple reasons and I like it enough to say I will be checking into the book from time to time. Strong enough a tale to drive away the bad taste some of the new Bat-Family titles have left in my mouth recently.

Release Oct 15 2014 in Hardcover

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pull list Oct 8 2014

 

Captain Marvel 8

Kelly Sue Deconnick is writing some of the best and often funniest adventure stories out there for me at lest. The last issue of Captain Marvel brought her back to the ship she left earth in to join the Guardians of the Galaxy in where Rocket has been keeping all too close an eye of her cat/flerkin whichever it is. I think this story has the potential to be a really funntwist on the Ridley Scott aliens story. This is one of the comics that often makes me either think or honestly laugh out load depending on the story. Its also one of the best booking comics because Marvel tends to pair Kelly Sue with artists that are not typical or pushing any house style. Love this book.

 

 

Rocket Racoon 4

Scotty Young's time as artist writer on this book seems to be limited but as with All New Ghost Rider I will stick with this book because I like the characer a lot and the book is doing something different that is considered regular continuity and that is a good thing. Its certainly not an all ages title given the level of violence and the implications about Rocket and his proclivities re rescued princesses. I'm enjoying the difference in tone that kind of lampoons the rest of the superhero genre in a similar way to the Bisley version of Lobo used to...

 

Amazing Spider-Man 7

Though I'm picking up a couple of the Edge of Spiderverse books that is not the reason I'm getting this. Dan Slott is a pretty able writer and I did enjoy the Superior Spider-Man issues I got electronically where they were on sale I can't branch out into more books given price and space issues. So yes I'm getting this because Ms Marvel is in it and the few preview pages looked rather nice... I know its a bit of a marketing thing maybe but I'll fall for it because I love that title almost as much as I love Captain Marvel.

 

 

 

Copperhead 2

So yeah along with legacy heroines, talking gun toting raccoons, space westerns are a thing for me that I simply can't pass up. Was this as outright great out of the gate as Saga no but it was solid storytelling, it was characterful and the great art reminiscent to me of Alien Legion from back in the day does not hurt. Police procedural western in space that promises Deadwood leanings I'm pretty much solidly there with this one and will be giving it several issues to develope.

 

 

Birthright 1

This sounds like a title that will appeal to the epic fantasy fan in me but definitely along very different lines from Rat Queens. This takes the portal fantasy plot taking a young adult from our world to a fantasy setting where they become the hero of legends. The tale here seems to be the aftermath in that the boy hero disappears to have his adventure the returns a year later much older and much changed by the events. The fantasy story aparently will be mainly revealed in memories and flashbacks so there will be two different hero tales layered together... sounds complicated and multifaceted. I think this will well be worth a look

 

 

 

Batgirl 35

I am picking this up for the same reason I am trying out Gotham Academy; its DC trying something new and outside the grim dark that I feel has become its stock in trade these days. The redesign of the costume appeals to me as does a break from the other bat titles which made the Gail Simone era not to my likeing with all the crossovers breaking the narrative. Here's hoping its up to the hype....

Hexed 3

Fans of heist storylines with magic and lots of mystery should be checking this out. Hexed the last time around was the book the Emma Rios knocked out of the water and this time around lookes to be no different with a new great artistic talent in Dan Mora. This story started with the heist of a mystical painting and spiraled out of control into a trip into the lands beyond death and revelation of a dark power released into the world. The titles threw us right into the action and let us figure it out as we go...love it.

 

Axis 1

Now to contradict what I said earlier about crossovers in that I'll be buying into at lease the first issue of this one. I happen to love the Kubert brothers artwork and though I either love or feel let down by Rick Remender I'm willing to go for the first issue because if he hits on a good story he doesn't fail when it comes to the ending of it. So much is already known about this book and its repercussions well I will have to get back to people next week after I read it....

 

 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Comics Oct 5 2014

In my opinion successful comics do one of several thigs for me as a reader... It either makes me smile or outright laugh outloud, touches me emotionally possibly to tears to, gives me chills up and down my spine in one way or another or gives me a story or idea that is too compelling for me to not continue thinking about after I've put it down... This week had it all to be honest.

Black Widow 11

This is a fun title that has a unique muted color pallet and follows Natasha Romanov trying to redeem herself to, well. mostly herself. Last issue presented a past encounter she has with another avenger, Hawkeye, and put in jeopardy her lawyerly assaciate. The draw that made me pick up this issue was the appearance of Laura/X-23 as her back-up as she goes to rescue her abducted ally. This is one of the titles which presents characters that seem mismatched but actually play well together and you may just hope to see together in the near future. Black Widow is a nice character to see getting to be a bad ass without male backup and this title really dives into the truth that women are overall more dangerous then men, anyone who has been the lone male in a class of women would know. Its a good book I must go back and seek out the rest of the issues.



 

 

 

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier 1

This addition to the morally grey area of the Marvel Cosmos was high in my pile to read this week because I didn't know what I expected and its one of the books I have really been able to dig into and enjoy several times. The art is the same style as Elektra but more muted like watercolor at times and to really appreciate the depth of the detail you have to spend time with the book and that is something that I appreciate given the cost of comics. A book about a cosmic hitman I would not expect to have such a sense of humor that really comes through in Ales Kot's work here and distinguishes itself from the other assassin turned hero books out there. I had a good ammount of affection for Barnes' going into this book and came out of it pretty happy with it. Its different then the earlier Winter Soldier title that I also really liked but I'm glad this is something new. The art here might not be for everyone since it requires you as a reader to kind of participate more then other books on the shelf. Pretty great book overall.

 

 

Thor 1

This is probably the best new book of the week and the only thing I can say about it is that this book is a constant chill fest up and down my spine. Though I liked the last volume of Thor but this title gives me the feeling that the old Journey into Mystery did. Anyone who read the final issue of Thor will know what is coming as this issue opens as one of the story hints isicked up right away that then turns the cool up to 11. This story addresses the new status quo with Thor being mearly Odinson and the talk to the hand Hammer thanks to Nick Fury. No one need have read Original Sin to know how we got to now. The art in this story keeps up the tradition of the rest of Jason Arron's run having some of the best work out there these days. This is well worth the price of admission and given a certain person is in little of the issue it definitely leaves you tingling for more... Magic....

 

 

Rat Queens 8

One of my favorite comics hit the stands again today. I pretty much don't mind this issue being an "origin" story look back though it breaks the narrative from last issue. Though I can say I like all the heroines in this book equally Vi is pretty much my favorite to read about this month and low and behold the now beardless dwarf gets all the spotlight here as does much of her attitude and inspiration. The cover art makes me want to try out Peter Panzerfaust given the exchange of artists between the titles and well just writing about how much I enjoyed the revelations that made me grin here I want to read it again and revel in the great art and story. I think in this arc we will be getting clever inclusions of the Queens pasts and damn I forgot how much I like this woman warrior centric book. (see my comments above again for Black Widow.) if you are not reading Rat Queens and have any interest in fabulous fantasy you are missing out on great stuff.

 

And just because that Peter Panzerfause book with the guest cover by the regular Rat Queens artist....

 

 

Guardians 3000 1

Like Bucky Barnes this was a title I read a couple times this week to really sus out my feelings about it overall. It could not be further from the soft art and subtl story of Ales Kot though; Dan Abnett and Sandoval are pretty much on the over the top bombast with the opening of the book. Guardians 3000 presents a pretty dismal depressing future and an equally grim proposition for the heroes with the potential grindark Groundhog Day set up. That said I overall like this return to the characters I wanted more of as kid but never really got. I was initially disappointed to be honest but wanting to give it a fair shot I read it again and I can see that Dan is setting up a lot of things here that long time marvel fans will get and probably enjoy the implications he makes. I want so much more the these sadly overlooked characters. This is a title I want to love and have to be honest and say I just like it and mainly for the cool kinetic art right now but I do like it enough to hold on for more and hope other people are there with me....

 

There are a couple more books from the week I hope to get and maybe I'll be doing a follow up on Tuesday....

And there's a hint about one of them....

 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Comics Sept 28 2014

 

New Avengers 24

Namor made a choice to be the thing that was necessary and enlisted the help of probably the best possible accomplices he could have in the now eight months old New Avengers 23. The mistake the heroic Illuminati made way back in issue 1 comes to roost in their belief they were morally up to the task of saving the world and universe; most sadly surrender to the what is coming, one runs and one Namor chooses to be the thing that is necessary. Here he realizes he can't live silently with the deal he made because of the allies he chose. This is not a happy story, its not the one I expected but it was the one I was glad to get; Thanos is not a hero, never was and neither were Terrax, the mad Inhuman,Thanos' generals nor is Black Swan. The story that Hickman is finally telling is due payoff for his long set up nd the moodily colored art by Schiti. There is a sence of both menace and dark humor in this title that ove one the grim dark nature and make it more then just another anti hero tale told yet again. My only wish would be to see more of Black Swan in the story. Its seldom writers tap into how truly malicious Thanos can be but Hickman and Schiti get idisturbingly right to the point.

 

All New Invaders 10

Few people are talking about the Invaders and this unassuming book is doing compelling things with lesser utilized characters in the Marvel Universe and expanding the legacy of the original superheroes of WW2. James Robinson and Steve Pugh are slowly expanding the cast they are working with this time; re introducing Jim Hammonds sidekick Toro and addin a new Iron Cross as well as tying this book into the wider Inhumas story, they also recognize the developing story between Captain America and the New Avengers and reintroduces the British legacy heroes not to mention Killraven. I'm afraid this might be another title that I connect with like Fearless Averngers and Journey into Mystery that will have an abriviated run so I hope other people try out this unusual title. It's not another Avengers though it stars one of them, its a bit more like mission impossible with superheroes and manages to carriy the weight of Marvel History on its shoulders much the same as a successful Justice Society title would for the other company. Next issue promises a Namor Human Torch battle to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Marvel so perhaps that may get some notice for this somewhat ignored book...

 

Mighty Avengers 14

This issue temporarily marks the end for this book by Al Ewing that began with the ad hoc formation of the most ethically diverse team in recent memory during the Infinity storyline. I loved seeing Luke Cage back in a regular book as well as Monica Rambeau (the second Captain Marvel now Specturm) who was one of my favorite Avengers and was a joy in a couple issues of Deconnick's Captain Marvel. Though this book will be back with the Sam Wilson's Cap after a month hiatus this is a great testament to the emotional fortitude of the cast Al is writing about in this book. Overshadowed by its big screen cousin title and its eight months later hype in my opinion this is the Avengers book to be reading. Al never failed to bring an honest smile to my face and several months back in issue ten wrote one of the best Original Sin ite in issues where the Blue Marvel becomes a god father. This book like the Invaders has a sense of history and legacy where it comes to character and like most books dealing with "lesser" characters can make actual change that will probably become lasting.

 

All New Ghost Rider 7

Filipe Smith is taking his hero Robbie to some very dark places in the second story arc; being a young person straddled with responciblity getting power seems to have changed his life for the better. I know that with the change I art last issue some people might be giving up given Damien Scott is so looser and different from the amazing Mr Moore but they are missing out on good storytelling here. The art is honestly not for everyone and some elements in this issue feel a bit rushed but I will say this for the story its strong enough to eked me coming back. The art has a definite street graffiti influence and given time it will develope into something people may really dig. This issue builds on the story from the first story arc and touches on the new Hyde army that Zabo seems to be working towards and on the fallout of the missing drugs from the earlier story. Oh and in the final pages next issues guest star maked his fiery appearance. Good stuff and actually pushes some interesting story buttons not explored often in superhero comics.

 

 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pull List Wednesday Sept 24, 2014

 

All New Ghost Rider 7

Yes I was sad when Traad Moore left this title because of the dynamic artwork he was doing but the first issue of the new artist Damin Scott last month proved a very cool surprise. It took a bit of time to warm up to the graffiti influences style but I quite like it looking at it again. This story arc promises to bring in the original Ghost Rider Jonny Blaze and hopefully will shed some more light on what the new Ghost Rider might be and what sinister side this new spirit of Vengence might just have. Filipe Smith created something successfully different with Robbie Reyes, a boy straddled with responcibility who has now come into power... I really hope that he gets a chance to tell the whole story he has planned here. I don't want to see another comic I'm digging get shelved before its time...

 

All New Invaders 10

This is one of the two titles out this that makes the Namor fan in me happy, he's one of the characters that really falls outside the polarized world of heros and villains in his own realm. James Robinson and Steve Pugh are doing some very fun things in this book and really the only thing missing here is a female presence among these World War Two soldiery heroes. This title is kinda a buddy bromance spy adventure story starring Jim Hammond the original Human Torch now agent of SHIELD and Namor who's living a very interesting life at the moment. This issue is the second that sees them, Bucky the Winter Soldier and still young Steve Rogers Cap fighting an army of Deathlocks who aparently are owned by an alien posing as a human. All of this seems to be leading to a war with Mars or something.

 

 

New Avengers 24

This is the one I'm probably looking forward to the most. The last issue was retry telling about all the characters that were part of the illuminati and who they are when the chips are really down and who will do what is necessary. I really love the choices Hickman made and agree with his assessment of the big players Richards, Stark, McCoy, Strange, and the Panther. This issue must introduce the new Avengers and is they are the ones on the cover well I can say I dig it. I won't say much more about it till I've read it come Thursday... Before reading issue 23 I'd have said you had me at Thanos but now well you had me at Namor....

 

 

Mighty Avengers 14

Al Ewing is making what is most often the funest of the many avengers offerings and well quite obviously the one with the most diverse cast of characters. I have always been a fan of the adventures of Luke Cage Power Man and being a horror comics kinda geek I was a fan of Blade from the old days too. This may be a book who's days are numbered in this current incarnation to be immediately replaced with Captain America and the Mighty Avengers with the same writer and mostly the same team. Maybe its not the time to jump on and read the adventures of The Blue Marvel, Spectrum, She-Hulk, the new Poweman, White Tiger, and Luke Cage but well maybe perhaps too it is the right time to do so and grab some of the back issues too. Oh and anyone that missed the Original Sin issues really they were a blast....

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sunday Comics Sept. 21, 2014

This week was a pretty massive one in terms of things I wish is could regularly follow... Multiversity one with Chris Sprouse, All New Xmen, Avengers (8 months later) to name just a few so I'll stick with just the two I got to pick up...

Thor God of Thunder 25

One of the two books I've read so far from this potentially very expensive week of comics. Thor 25 is the end of this volume with Odinson becoming again unworthy to wield mjolnir after what occured in Original Sin. There are two main stories in this issue framed as stories being read by the granddaughters of Thor ala Journey into Mystery. The opening tale is the origin of Maliketh which is suitably grim and dark and overall satisfying for someone who has long liked the dark elf and the second is a young Thor tale with art by Simon Bisley of Slaine and Lobo fame. That and the final couple pages that are a teaser for the new Thor series point to stories yet to come... It's been a good time to be a Thunder god fan and there seems to be no one better to write it the Aaron. Even at the five dollar price point this issue felt satisfying in art and story both. Looking forward to the mysterious woman who somehow gets the hammer from the moons surface....

 

 

The Wicked + The Divine 4

I will be honest here thought I liked the story up till this issue I was mainly getting the book for its truly georgeous artwork by McKelvie and Wilson. This issue is probably the best looking so far but this is where the slow build story wise from issue one really dug its claws into me and I know I'm hooked. So we get more of a look at some of the characters that we have been hearing about since issue one, I'm looking at you Woden and get a bit deeper into the set up for what I think will be the fireworks to come soon. Its more then just a pretty face and now I must go read deeper into issues one through three again.... Thank you Kieron and company of a very cool book....

 

 

 

 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wanted Dispatch Sept 13 2014

 

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

I've been a fan since reading Zoo City and absolutely loved The Shining Girls so getting a chance to read an ARC of this was a pleasure. Like Shining Girls Broken Monsters is a serial killer crime novel that shows the story through many perspectives including the killer and shows how broken all the characters are in their very human ways. Lauren is one of the writers who goes outside the white western eurpean storytelling box and apparently spent a good deal of time researching Detroit, her setting, and the realities of being mixed race in a prejudiced society that thinks itself not racist anymore. Expect a full review to be coming soon. Here is a synopsis from Hachette books... It is out in the US on the 16th of September...

Detective Gabriella Versado has seen a lot of bodies. But this one is unique even by Detroit's standards: half boy, half deer, somehow fused together. As stranger and more disturbing bodies are discovered, how can the city hold on to a reality that is already tearing at its seams? If you're Detective Versado's geeky teenage daughter, Layla, you commence a dangerous flirtation with a potential predator online. If you're desperate freelance journalist Jonno, you do whatever it takes to get the exclusive on a horrific story. If you're Thomas Keen, known on the street as TK, you'll do what you can to keep your homeless family safe--and find the monster who is possessed by the dream of violently remaking the world. If Lauren Beukes's internationally bestselling The Shining Girls was a time-jumping thrill ride through the past, her Broken Monsters is a genre-redefining thriller about broken cities, broken dreams, and broken people trying to put themselves back together again.

They do the same things Different There by Robert Sherman

Of the three books I am posting about this week this is the first of the two from my favorite dark fiction publisher from Canada - ChiZine. I'm a sucker for short fiction collections and particularly for weird fiction collections so this is pretty much my kind of thing...

Here is the synopsis and a link to ChiZine.....

Robert Shearman visits worlds that are unsettling and strange. Sometimes they are just like ours—except landlocked countries may disappear overnight, marriages to camels are the norm, and the dead turn into musical instruments. Sometimes they are quite alien—where children carve their own tongues from trees, and magic shows are performed to amuse the troops in the war between demons and angels. There is horror, and dreams fulfilled and squandered, of true love. They do the same things different there.

Robert Shearman has written four previous collections of short stories, and they have collectively won the World Fantasy Award, the Shirley Jackson Award, and three British Fantasy Awards. He is probably best known as a writer on the BBC TV series Doctor Who, and his work on the show gave him a Hugo Award nomination. His last book, Remember Why You Fear Me, is also published by ChiZine Publications.

 

Gifts for the one who come After by Helen Marshall

And so here is the other book coming this week from ChiZine and its another short fiction anthology of things dark and weird. And I'll leave you with the link and synopsis for this....

Helen Marshall’s debut collection Hair Side, Flesh Side earned her praise as "the new face of horror" (January Magazine). Her work has been nominated for the Aurora Award from the Canadian Society of Science Fiction and Fantasy, the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, and the Sydney J. Bounds Award from the British Fantasy Society, which she won in 2013.

Ghost thumbs. Microscopic dogs. One very sad can of tomato soup . . .Helen Marshall’s second collection offers a series of twisted surrealities that explore the legacies we pass on to our children. A son seeks to reconnect with his father through a telescope that sees into the past. A young girl discovers what lies on the other side of her mother’s bellybutton. Death’s wife prepares for a very special funeral. In Gifts for the One Who Comes After, Marshall delivers eighteen tales of love and loss that cement her as a powerful voice in dark fantasy and the New Weird. Dazzling, disturbing, and deeply moving.